ToonDoo

 

Learning(i)

Free reign for kids' creativity -- browse with caution.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some authors have woven messages like "I choose who I want to be" and "Don’t be disrespectful" into comics.

Violence

Comics include violent scenes such as a bear killing another bear with a hammer and a person being shot in the back.

Sex

With the user-created comics, anything goes: Some are mild, others include nude photos and jokes about sexual diseases.

Language

Some toons contain words like "hell" and "ass."

Consumerism

You can buy print-quality images of the cartoons you create -- or that others create -- using the site currency, Tooken, which can be earned you can purchased 100 for $1.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Content ranges from characters getting excited about drinking to a fair amount of anti-smoking/anti-drug comics.

Privacy & safety

It isn't really easy to get in touch with other users: You can follow their comic strip posts and "like" certain cartoons, but while users can post a comment about their creation, it doesn't look like the site has enabled its general comment functionality yet. (It does offer a comment tally for each toon, however, so that may be added in the future.)

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that registration is free; kids need to enter a username, password, and email. Their profile can include their gender, city, website URL, and a brief bio. ToonDoo says efforts have been made to make the site safe for kids, but because "users come from different countries and socio-cultural backgrounds, it is virtually impractical to monitor all the content" -- so it relies on users to report inappropriate items. The library of homemade cartoons includes a variety of tame and not-so-innocent content.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • storytelling
  • writing clearly

Arts

  • drawing
  • photography

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination
  • producing new content

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • presenting

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Fun cartoon creation site offers an ample library of clip art and the ability to doodle your own pictures.

Learning Approach

Being able to pair pictures with plot can help kids learn how the elements of a story work. Teens may use the format to express complex emotions while younger users can benefit from the basic reading skills that are reinforced.

Support

Has some nifty ways of encouraging users to participate: In addition to making their own comics, users can also "like" other creations or add captions to other users' cartoons, if the owners allow it.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • storytelling
  • writing clearly

Arts

  • drawing
  • photography

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination
  • producing new content

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • presenting

Kids can learn how to create characters and practice language skills by making cartoons. With a little imagination, they can turn stories into comic strips and printed books via the site. Because they are able to create multi-panel strips, kids can gain experience telling stories using both words and pictures: structuring the plot, identifying characters, and writing dialogue.  If users were able to participate in dialogue beyond "likes," cartoon creators could better identify simple problems like plot holes and spelling errors..

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

What's it about?

Kids can use ToonDoo to create and share single- multi-panel comic strips. The cartoon tool offers an impressive amount of creative control: Kids can sketch their own images or use clip art. They can also \"like\" other users' cartoons or add captions, if the artist is OK with it. Some of the user-created content isn't for kids -- but if you encourage your child to stick to just using the cartoon tool to make comics, the site can offer helpful storytelling and writing practice.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Billed as the world's fastest way to create cartoons, TOONDOO also offers kids an outlet to share their comics. Unlike some cartoon sites, which only allow you to import images, ToonDoo offers an ample library of clip art and the ability to doodle your own pictures. The site also has some nifty ways of encouraging users to participate: In addition to making their own comic, users can also like other creations or add captions to other users' cartoons, if the owner allows it. However, you may not want your child aimlessly flipping through all the content on the site: Although some images may provide artistic inspiration, others contain nudity, bad language, and other for-adults-only items.
 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the challenges of telling a story with more pictures than words. How can you show action using only still images?

  •  

  • Kids may be used to hearing or reading stories, but creating their own is a whole new experience. Talk about a recent event in your child's life that could be turned into a comic strip: What would the beginning, middle, and end be? How could you illustrate the action?

  •  

  • Some comics on the site include swears, gory violence, and other adult themes. When your child is ready to create a cartoon, discuss what images and story elements might not be appropriate to use -- even though it might seem OK at first because they aren't being depicted in real life (such as in a photograph).

  •  

Website details

Genre:Creating
Pricing structure:Free

This review of ToonDoo was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written bymel5874 April 23, 2014
age 10+
 

Approach with caution

Appalling bad company! Website was fantastic - very easy to use and produced amazing cartoons - however, their customer service was beyond bad! THREE TIMES uploaded money to their site as I wished to purchase hi-res versions of the cartoon I produced for my degree - but each time the money did not register and despite trying to contact them through their website, by email, through paypal and over the telephone - I am $30 out of pocket - have no cartoon, am unable to complete my paper. At the moment, I have made 37 attempts to contact them through various methods to either get my money back or access my cartoon - but each attempt to contact has been ignored. PLEASE APPROACH THIS COMPANY WITH CAUTION!
Adult Written bynohtr March 31, 2015
age 10+
 
LEARNING

Toondoo (and why it not to use it)

So recently, i have had the "pleasure" of using Toondoo for a school project. I simply had to make a 3 panel comic. Nothing to worry about, right? Wrong. The creation tools are buggy and spastic, the shapes and various things you can place are random, annoying, and largely useless, and the website misregistered my "rotate" as a "delete" and deleted the contents of the comic twice. Aside from that, many of the shapes have no place on the site. Political party symbols, various brand symbols, etc. Overall, it was grating and thoroughly unpleasant. Coming from someone who has significant experience with computers, and sadly, comics (shoutout to all the teachers who make us do comics), i'd just keep looking for another site.
Teen, 14 years old Written byThomas_Braun77 February 5, 2015
age 9+
 
LEARNING

Worst experience ever!

If ever you were thinking about using this tool, don't bother. It took me 2 hours to connect because the website was so slow. It wasn't my internet because all the other websites ran fine. This is a horrible website.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass